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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What construction projects require a building permit?

Answer: Most construction requires a building permit. Every community has different requirements. You probably will at least need a building permit. You may have to obtain a special permit to build in a particular area. You should also be aware of any zoning or land use restrictions on the site where you plan to build. If you are changing the use of the building or spaces within, a building permit is required. If you are building walls or altering the structure, a building permit is required.

Painting, wallpapering, tiling carpeting, cabinets and counter tops and similar finish work does not require a permit. If you are in doubt about needing a building permit, it is advised that you check with the building department, prior to beginning your project.

2. What is the purpose of a building permit?

Answer: Building permits are a requirement of the state building code. Most building permits are issued by local units of government, such as city, county, or township. The issuance of building permits help these local units of government keep track of construction activity in their areas.

By issuing building permits, these local units of government can also be sure that the buildings being constructed, are meeting the minimum requirements of the state building code, thereby providing safe buildings in their communities.

3. How reliable are building codes?

Answer: Building codes have been around for many years. As the years have passed, many changes to the building code have been made. Building codes are, and will continue to be fairly reliable, as long as the building codes continue to be updated. With the development of new and improved methods of construction, and constant changes in the materials with which we build, changes in the building code are inevitable. These changes must be made to help in providing safe, structurally sound buildings that will last for many years.

4. Why should minimum safety codes apply to my own house?

Answer: Minimum safety codes must apply to all buildings covered by the state building code. As much as we like to have control of our future, no one knows for sure what their future holds in store for them. It is inevitable, that the building you own today, will eventually belong to someone else. By having your home meet building code requirements, not only are you provided with a building that is constructed safely, future owners are protected as well.

5. Do I have to use a licensed contractor on my construction project?

Answer: Licensing rules vary from state-to-state and sometimes between cities in the same state. In many communities, unlicensed contractors may not receive a building permit for work they do for someone else. Construction done by a person not licensed as a contractor may not pass inspection or receive a certificate of occupancy, which allows the use of a building.

6. What is the difference between a building inspection and a home inspection?

Answer: A building inspector evaluates the building project, usually several times, at various stages of construction, to ensure compliance with local building codes. In some communities, a certificate of occupancy is given only after the home passes a final building inspection. Home inspectors generally evaluate an existing home as a part of the sale or purchase of the home. Home inspectors look at readily accessible systems and components, but they do not certify that a home is in compliance with the building codes.

7. What is a construction defect?

Answer : A construction defect is a deficient design or construction that results from a builder's failure to complete the work in a proper manner. If there is a construction defect, the builder can be held liable.

Unit 5A Palm Springs, 100 Jhb Road,
Lyndhurst 2192 Johannesburg, South Africa.
Phone: + 27 11 039 5371
Fax: + 27 86 585 8275

About us

Horstein Construction is a project company which is focused on delivering general building and civil engineering contracting, management contracting, construction management and project management services in the built environment. Horstein is based in Harare and has presence in South Africa and Botswana.


No. 41 Camberley Road Ashdown Park
Stand No. 3442 Tynwald Harare
+ 263 8644 124 848, + 263 4 306964

Unit 5A Palm Springs, 100 Jhb Rd
Lyndhurst 2076 Jhb, South Africa
Phone: + 27 11 039 5371
Fax: + 27 86 585 8275

Working Hours

Our support team available to help you 24/7 a day

  1. Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm
  2. Saturday: 10am to 2pm
  3. Sunday: Closed
  4. Help Desk: Open 24/7